BOSTON - Following the Bruins' 4-2 preseason win over Chicago on Monday night at TD Garden, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy was asked about 21-year-old Anders Bjork.
"Does it look like he belongs?" Cassidy was asked by a reporter.
"Yes. Sure does to me," said Cassidy.
Bjork has spent training camp on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and appears to be fitting in.
In the first period of Monday night's win, Bjork put home a feed from Bergeron to make it 3-0, after Marchand and Bergeron combined to force a turnover in the offensive zone.
"The competition will stiffen for him, we'll keep evaluating that, but still, he's got skill, speed, and he's got courage," Cassidy said. "He gets to the dirty areas, he's hard to play against there, second effort on pucks, it's not one-and-done with him, and for a young kid, that's special, to be able to hang in there and battle for those turnovers."
"That's usually the part of the game you've got to continue to grind on them," said Cassidy. "He's got a lot of that, and maybe that's a bit of Bergy and Marchy's influence, I'd like to think they have some of that, because that's their game - Marchy never quits, Bergy never quits."
"They're going to be a hard line to play against, if they're that dogged on the puck every shift."
Bjork's play has impressed Bergeron during camp.
"He's got that speed and the smarts to get open and find the openings in the quiet ice," said Bergeron. "It was a great play by him just to get open and for me to see him. He made it really easy. He skates well, he made some great plays, we just need to keep talking and finding each other more and more on the ice."
The goal marked Bjork's second of the preseason and his first playing on a line with Marchand and Bergeron.
"I think they made a lot of nice plays for me tonight and they did the other night too, so it was nice to finally finish one," said Bjork. "Marchand made a nice play to force a turnover and then Bergeron put it right on my stick, so it was a pretty easy goal to score."
Video: CHI@BOS: Bjork fires a one-timer past Crawford
With less special teams than in the previous preseason games, the trio was able to get a solid amount of even strength time together.
"We had more ice time together, which helped us get more comfortable and helped me kind of learn their chemistry a bit more," said Bjork. "Obviously they have a ton of chemistry and they're very easy to play with, of course, but it's nice to get more shifts with them and kind of pick up on their patterns and stuff like that."
"Definitely gaining confidence and becoming more comfortable, so I think just getting more time on the ice helps a lot."
Bjork is following suit in terms of their two-way play as well. While he was certainly an all-around player at Notre Dame, he's absorbing all he can from Marchand and Bergeron to further round out his game.
"I think that's one of the major step-ups from college to pro is being a complete player," said Bjork. "Every player in this league is a complete player. I think it's important to be rock solid defensively and in all three areas of the ice. I think the offensive zone is where you be creative and then all the other areas you're rock solid."
Video: Bjork speaks after Bruins preseason win over Chicago
O'Gara Making Push
Defenseman Rob O'Gara led all skaters in time on ice with 22:28 and 24 shifts. He was paired with Charlie McAvoy for the night.
"I think that's the biggest thing for me," O'Gara said of playing with confidence. "I think I'm able to play my game when I'm most comfortable and most involved."
O'Gara has showcased his consistency throughout training camp, and his growth from his first season pro in 2016-17, when he had an opportunity to start the season with Boston and suit up in three games.
"I kind of think about my old development camp experience from first year to second year and the difference there, just how I grew in Providence last year, and using my training camp experience and early season here," said O'Gara. "Using that to my advantage and knowing what to expect, it helps a lot. Coming in more confident, that's how I will compete for a spot here and that's how I gave to keep playing."
Video: O'Gara speaks after Bruins preseason win over Chicago
Subban Stays Strong
Malcolm Subban got his start between the pipes on Monday night in the Bruins' fourth preseason game.
He made 24 saves on 26 shots, and had an incredible sequence midway through the third period with the Bruins holding a 4-2 lead.
Video: CHI@BOS: Subban denies Saad's shot attempt in close
"I thought that my positioning was pretty good - better than usual," Subban said of his play. "I thought I improved on that a lot and second half of the game, I felt a lot better."
The sequence drew out a roar from the TD Garden crowd. It showed his athleticism.
"Obviously it felt really good to hear the fans," said Subban. "But I just try to stay focused and dialed in. Obviously, it's kind of hard sometimes. But I just try to stay focused, stay dialed in, and get the win and finish strong."
"I wasn't getting too many consistent shots, so I was just trying to stay focused even after that and just trying to keep playing my game and stay focused pretty much. Stay focused, stay focused," he smiled.
Video: Subban speaks after making 24 saves against Chicago
David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board just 52 seconds into the first period with a snipe from the right circle. Ryan Spooner created the sequence with a big hit in front of the benches, and the puck quickly shot cross ice to Matt Beleskey, who fed Pastrnak down the right wing.
Rookie blueliner Jeremy Lauzon made it 2-0 just 36 seconds later with a shot from the left point that elluded Chicago netminder Corey Crawford.
After Bjork made it 3-0 in the first, Chicago scored a goal on a delayed penalty in the final minute of the period. The Blackhawks then made it a one-goal game midway through the second.
Bergeron capped off the scoring by punching in a loose puck on the power play after a scrum in front of Crawford at 4:10 into the third period.
The Bruins are off on Tuesday before holding practice on Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena. They will finish out the preseason with two road games, on Thursday in Philadelphia and on Saturday in Chicago.
Video: Bergeron, Pastrnak lead Bruins to 4-2 win over Hawks